Governor Roy Cooper announced on Monday that $153 million in loans and grants had been allocated to help pay for 48 drinking water and wastewater projects across the state.
“North Carolina families deserve clean water, and this funding will help communities tackle the challenge of aging water and wastewater systems to improve quality of life and increase good paying jobs,” said Governor Cooper.
During the August meeting of the Franklin Town Council on Monday night, the board unanimously voted to accept the loan allocation in the amount of $8,889,000 with a max of $500,000 forgiveness at an interest rate of .13%.
“For rural communities especially, the costs of managing aging infrastructure can be extremely challenging. These projects will improve the viability, reliability and resiliency of these utilities, bringing benefits across the state,” said Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser.
The more-than $8 million received by the Town of Franklin from the state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Project will help offset the cost of Phase II of the town’s water treatment plant improvements.
The town of Franklin has several loans it continues to pay off each year. The current loan amount for its water and sewer projects is about $1.47 million, scheduled to be paid off my 2024. The town also has two state revolving loans for its wastewater treatment plant projects — $3.37 million to be paid off by 2033 and $2.76 million to be paid off by 2038.
As indicated in the funding award summary document, the amount of funding requested by North Carolina towns in this round alone, $617.2 million, far exceeded the $158.3 million in available funding for this round- strong evidence of the need for additional funding. Studies show that North Carolina needs from $17 billion to $26 billion in upgrades to its water and sewer infrastructure statewide.
The project funding was approved at the State Water Infrastructure Authority’s July 14 meeting. The Authority is an independent body with primary responsibility for awarding federal and state funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Other responsibilities include developing a state water infrastructure master plan, recommending ways to maximize the use of available loan and grant funding resources, and examining best and emerging practices.